Jul 20, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcherChris Rusin
(52) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies may not have a long-term starting pitcher here, but the lefty from Kentucky was a nice buy-low acquisition and he’s a tough dude.
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The Colorado Rockies found a weird gem in Chris Rusin. No, I don’t mean a prospect, or a long-term starter, or even a guy who is going to start the rest of this season (let’s face it, based on his last few starts, the Rusin experiment in Denver may soon be coming to an end, as Connor Farrell tweeted the other day).
But the Rockies have a tough dude in Chris Rusin. He and Yohan Flande have a few similarities, I guess (remember this thing I wrote about Flande the other day?). I feel like I’ve been writing this kind of post about guys quite a bit lately, and maybe that’s just what you write about when your team is 79 games below .500 and you’re looking for bright spots.
But Rusin is a guy who throws an 89 mph fastball, an 86 mph cutter, and an 81 mph change up — no disrespect to him, but he’s not out there working with the tools of an Eddie Butler, or a Jorge De La Rosa, or even Flande.
Thursday’s game in St. Louis was a great example of Rusin the “gamer,” as stupid and worthless as that phrase may be. Sure, he allowed five runs, gave up a couple bombs (goodness, Matt Carpenter) and put the staff behind the eight-ball.
But Rusin also found a way to help with his own homer, and did what he had to do to leave the game with the Rockies hanging around. That’s something.
He doesn’t walk guys (2.48 per nine innings), and he goes right after hitters (68% first pitch strikes, and batters swing and miss at nearly 10% of his pitches). Rusin knows what he’s capable of, and to challenge hitters early in counts. You can’t nibble when you don’t throw 90 mph.
Rusin has struggled a bit lately — in his last three starts, he’s allowed 11 earned runs in 16 innings — and who knows how long he’ll be in the rotation. But for a guy the Rockies picked up off the scrap heap last September, Rusin’s first calendar year in the organization has been a revelation of sorts.
I should think the Rockies ought to have a starting rotation without Rusin next season; no offense to him, but wouldn’t you like to see the Rox go get a few, ya know, mid-level starters on the free agent market? But 2016 or not, Chris Rusin has deservedly earned respect this year, he’s pitched better than his stuff, and he’s helped Jorge De La Rosa anchor the rotation during an otherwise wasted season.